As 2017 is near its conclusion and the new year is upon us, it is only right to take a quick look at my top 10 albums of 2017. This just doesn’t include albums, but EP’s and mixtapes also. The list sees underground acts still trying to breakthrough to the bigger scene, and also incorporates some of those acts who have already seen some major success on the scene of mainstream. Note, these are my opinions, the top ten albums I thought were the best of the year, so go ahead and leave your thoughts on my list in the comment section below.
10. SZA – Ctrl
TDE at last delivered SZA’s debut album, Ctrl, and fans went crazy for the album. From old fans, like myself, to those new fans she was able to lure in while riding this wave, SZA was on top for moments of 2017. She dropped her hit single “Love Galore” featuring Travis Scott, and also picked up a few more hits she didn’t think fans would really consider hits, like “The Weekend”. Ctrl was similar to her last release prior to the album with Z, as the lyrics on both projects are very deep and emotional. Although, this time around, she was able to incorporate a sound, a type of mainstream sound that was able to grab the listeners full attention along with those lyrics SZA has been known for.
9. Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory
Vince Staples had a very successful 2017, especially after releasing another dope album with Big Fish Theory. The West Coast native was able to blend some electronic, punk sounds with his catchy wordplay, and made it work to the fullest. Vince had plenty of promotion behind him before and after the album dropped, from his label Def Jam to Sprite helping him hit the scene even harder. A few standouts from the album include “Alyssa Interlude”, the radio hit “745”, and “BagBak”. Vince Staples in an artist that should not be overlooked at all, especially after this year, so if you are still asleep then wake up and hit play on Big Fish Theory and find out what you have been missing.
8. Well$ – All Kings Get Their Heads Chopped Off
From start to finish, Well$ delivered a punch with his EP, All Kings Get Their Heads Chopped Off. The EP is only a short 7 tracks, but the artist delivers bars along with truth within the verses he lays on top of the instrumentals. Although he is still gaining momentum and getting better with each project, Well$ makes sure to let those kings know that one day they’ll get their heads chopped off, no matter their title. From track one, “All Kings Get Their Heads Chopped Off” to track 3 with the banger “Rose” to the final track “I Don’t Care About Much” this project is something you can easily play at anytime of the day, which is why Well$ takes the number 8 spot.
7. Ro Ransom – Momentum
Weighing in at 10 tracks with two features from Jazz Cartier and Kensei Abbot, Ro Ransom gave fans a new mixtape with 2017’s Momentum. The mixtape definitely lives up to its name, simply because it keeps Ro Ransom’s momentum to stardom on track. While ghostwriting some hits for breakthrough artists like Khalid (“Let’s Go”) ultimately giving the artist his first Grammy, Ro was also writing hits of his own. The mixtape has nothing but bangers, bringing a different sound then his last releases, such as Ro Ransom Is The Future. From “Prettiest”, to “Stop The World” all the way to “Friends With Benefits” Ro was able to cook up something so dope and fresh with his Momentum mixtape while still flexing on his competition.
6. Bryson Tiller – True To Self
Focused on staying true to himself, Bryson Tiller does just that with his lone album of 2017, True To Self. This album is packed with songs that’ll have you knodding your head off, to songs that will have you reminiscing on past relationships. The album is like a diary of confessions that were packed into 19 different songs for listeners. Bryson Tiller delivered with his sophomore album, an album I had on repeat for sometime while working those long night shifts at Super 8. True To Self is a jam packed album bringing you a different vibe with each song, be true to yourself and go grab the album if you haven’t already.
5. Pell – girasoul EP
Even though this EP didn’t release until the last month of the year, it sure didn’t stop listeners from easily enjoying the vibes from Pell’s girasoul EP. 6 tracks is what the artist gave us on the EP, but that was enough for fans and first time listeners to add Pell to their lists of artists to watch out for in 2018. Pell has always had that musical gift, but it seems like he is finding a sound to call his own, especially with his girasoul EP. This project had me chirpin’ about it for weeks after its release, showing friends what they have been missing, and Ive added the project to my top 10 albums of 2017 to let you know that it is a project you want to go listen to immediately after reading the rest of the list.
4. Roy Wood$ – Say Less
Roy Wood$ was an artist I stumbled upon in my submission emails a few years back, and now a few years later, the OVOUTU artist dropped his debut album Say Less in 2017. That just goes to show how hard he’s been working in the span of two years. Roy Wood$ is a name that you will hear more from in 2018, and he kicked it off the right way with December’s Say Less. After releasing his projects Walking At Dawn & Nocturnal in 2016, Wood$ strikes again with a gem of a project with his debut album. Enlisting acts like PARTYNEXTDOOR, dvsn, PnB Rock and more, the Canada native closely sticks to that same sound he has made a name for himself with, and it keeps working. 16 tracks is the total length of the album, and I lowkey wish there were about 20 songs but the repeat button is also nice.
3. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN
Well, we all knew that Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN album was going to be on the list somewhere, and number three is where it lands. He surprised almost everybody with his hit single “Humble” then surprising once again with his album in its entirely. Kendrick goes completely off on this album, plain and simple, which leaves you saying damn when its all said and done. With almost every song off the album making the charts this past year, Kendrick delivers stellar videos to go along with those tracks, bringing what he is saying to life. Kendrick Lamar and TDE played their hands right while creating this masterpiece.
2. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy
Let’s just say that Tyler, The Creator, finally made that huge breakthrough he and his fans have been waiting for with his album Flower Boy. I feel as if Tyler really got into his emotional state of being in this album, tapping into that origin of himself to create such a great album. I also don’t think that fans and critics were expecting an album of this caliber from Tyler, which hit them unexpectedly when he finally released it for listeners. Tyler produced the album himself, which makes it even better because he played a role in every aspect of the album while it was in its creation process. Flower Boy definitely is in its own league compared to his older albums like Goblin & WOLF, as it showed the growth of an artist from his teenage years to living the life of a young adult dealing with so many emotions all at once.
1. Joey Bada$$ – All Amerikkkan Bada$$
The Pro Era head honcho and rising artist from New York, Joey Bada$$, makes his mark with his sophomore album All Amerikkkan Bada$$ in 2017. Joey takes the top spot in my list simply because he touches on serious subjects that were happening in America these past few years, using his spotlight for good. Joey was able to keep his word play intact while speaking on his thoughts and opinions about the country we are living in, and the leaders who are running the country. To me, this album was a no brainer for the number one spot, we all knew Joey was capable of rhyming ever since that historic video surfaced of the young MC freestyling with friends back in his high school days. We all knew how lyrical Joey really is, but did we all really know he was capable of creating such an album like All Amerikkkan Bada$$? I think not, which is why he has made his mark in the HipHop scene, not that he wasn’t making a mark already, he just solidified that mark within the music industry with this album.
There you have it, my top 10 projects of 2017, so with that being said, leave your thoughts down below. Let me know what albums you think I failed to leave out, or failed to possibly listen to. Now that 2017 is over, 2018 brings us a new year to anticipate new albums from our favorite artists. Much love, stay safe and warm.